During Wednesday morning’s SEC teleconference, a reporter called in to ask Alabama coach Nick Saban about “Michael Nees-wander,” then stopped himself.
“Or is it ‘Nice-wander?'” the reporter asked. “Am I pronouncing that correct, coach?”
Saban paused, then answered.
“Nice-wander,” he said, matter-of factly.
That’d be Michael Nysewander, a fifth-year senior who began his Tuscaloosa career as a walk-on. The versatile 6-foot-1, 237-pound athlete has pitched in on offense (mostly as a blocking tight end) and special teams coverage this season, and Saban is a big fan.
“He’s just one of those throwback players, to me,” Saban said. “You’ve got to love him. I get a smile on my face every time I talk about him. He’s just a tough grinder.”
Nysewander has one catch this season, but it went for a 19-yard touchdown against Louisiana-Monroe. He regularly makes plays on special teams, including a huge hit against LSU this past Saturday.
“He’s worked hard,” Saban said. “Finally, it’s paying off for him.”